The Thing about Power

Matt. 4:10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

John 15:12-13, Jesus speaking to his friends: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.“

Yesterday we talked about worship as an immersion experience in the reality of God, one which we can’t help but be changed by.  In worship we realize how amazing God is and how loved we are.  The thing about love like this – it’s meant to be shared.  And just as we find healing and redemption in the servant-hearted love of Jesus, we can be agents of healing and redemption for others as we learn to love and serve like him. 

Thinker Andy Crouch makes an interesting and helpful distinction between what it means to exercise authority (defined just as the ability to act) in the empire of evil versus the kingdom of God.  In systems of empire, those with plenty of authority use it to protect themselves and reduce their own vulnerability, at the cost of others, who have little authority and lots of vulnerability.  In kingdom, however, those with authority use it to serve others.  Rather than trying to reduce their own vulnerability by exercising power over, they embrace the riskiness of love and work to empower.  It’s not an easy or fast path, but it is the way of Jesus.

Think about some different areas of your life – family, friends, work/school, church…  How has God uniquely gifted or placed you so that you have authority - the ability to act?  Talking honestly to Jesus for a few minutes: what is your primary concern when you use that authority – your own needs or the needs of the people around you?  Or where have you found it difficult to step into that authority at all?  Perhaps you could talk with Jesus about why it’s so hard.  What are 1-2 small steps you could take today to use your gifts - your power - to love and serve others?